Kashmir film banned in UAE

No reason given for censure of 'Lamhaa'

Updated July 16, 7:20 am Beijing time

MUMBAI -- A new Bollywood film that puts the spotlight on the Kashmir issue has been banned in the United Arab Emirates, the director of the film said.

"Lamhaa," which opens in Indian cinemas on Friday, is a thriller set in the strife-torn Himalayan region at the heart of hostility between India and Pakistan.

"If anyone should have a problem with the content of the film, it should be India or Pakistan, how is the UAE concerned?" the film's director Rahul Dholakia said.

Separatists in Kashmir began an insurgency against Indian rule in 1989 -- a movement almost immediately backed by Pakistan -- and since then tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Most fighters want all of Kashmir to become part of Pakistan but many ordinary Kashmiris want independence from both India and Pakistan.

But Dholakia, whose earlier film "Parzania" dealt with the Gujarat riots and their aftermath, said he did not think "Lamhaa" is controversial.

"My film talks about the basic problems of the Kashmiri people, which is a crisis of identity, the armed forces and of course the problem of the Kashmiri Pandits who live in Jammu," he said.

The director said he spent a lot of time researching the film, interviewing prominent politicians and common people but it was still difficult to make a film that would be unbiased.

"Lamhaa," which stars Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu and Anupam Kher has been in the making for three years and focuses on the "ground realities" in Kashmir.

In the past, several films have been shot in the region and dealt with the problem of insurgency but haven't found much success at the boxoffice.

Both Santosh Sivan's "Tahaan" and Piyush Mehra's "Sikander" had children as protagonists while Dholakia's film revolves around a former army official.
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